Our vision is to be Jesus’ transformative presence in our community. By anchoring our vision on Jesus’ presence we are trying to encompass many different characteristics, including growing relationships, empowering and impacting people, loving and giving hope, eating together, healing, pursuing justice, and simply living among those in need until “their” community becomes “our” community.
Our mission is named S.E.E.D.S — it’s an acronym to describe our own journey to this point and the direction we feel called to go. It’s a system that we have traveled and that we (and you) can implement in any context.
S. Serve. The first thing we do is serve people. It’s through service that we meet people, grow as individuals and as a team, and get a better sense of who we are, whom we’re meant to serve, and who God is. In serving, you listen. In listening, you learn how to engage people. You can’t make an impact by entering a community without first listening; it also makes you ignorant and arrogant. Even when we don’t know which direction to go, we serve.
E. Engage. As we seek to serve, we start to develop and initiate relationships. We start to learn more about the people we’ve served or served next to. We begin a conversation with people in the community.
E. Empathize. Then we begin walking alongside the people we serve and work with. We enter their journeys and we “do life” together. We share with and influence each other. We serve each other, learning about each other and ourselves. For example, we love food and we love to share meals with people in our community. It is a great way to share in each other’s journey. Cesar Chavez once said, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him. The people who give you their food give you their heart.” To empathize, you have to “move in” and make yourself a presence in someone else’s life. It means to literally walk in their shoes.
D. Disciple. We want to encourage everyone we know to be a disciple of Jesus. This stage is
where an invitation might take place. It’s where the people we’ve been walking alongside are challenged to live a life committed to Christ and to discovering his unique call for their lives. The life of a disciple isn’t always easy, but it’s how we live life to the fullest.
S. Send. By definition, once someone becomes a disciple, they are sent. It doesn’t mean they’re always sent overseas or even sent “away” from our community but they are sent to live differently than before. They’re now called to become SEEDS in the lives of others. So they circle back to the first ‘S’ in their own way, in their own community (or maybe in the same one) and begin to serve, engage, empathize, disciple, send. The cycle goes on and on.
We see our vision and mission here in Aurora as works-in-process. We try to regularly reevaluate these ideas and hope any of you that are interested might engage with us in either cementing or reshaping our guiding principles so we can better sow “seeds of peace.”